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Niger Delta

Kingship: Protesting Community accuses Bayelsa govt of attempt to impose dethroned monarch



• Issues 14-day ultimatum to Gov.Douye to present staff of office to new the monarch

• Says the ousted highness stole over 90million from community treasury

By Timi Black

Angry Aghoro ll Community has issued Bayelsa State government 14 days ultimatum to present staff of office to HRH, Afro Biukeme, as the Highness of the community.

The protesters accused Bayelsa State government, especially the deputy governor, His Excellency Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of alleged moves to impose the dethroned highness on the community.

The protesting Chiefs, elders, women and youths said they have crowned HRH Afro Biukeme as their new monarch and that any attempt to upturn it would be bloody.

The community stated that they were running out of patience and that the delay of the Bayelsa State government to make public the enquiry report was suspicious, stating that such moves could incite violence and break down of law and order.

The aggrieved leaders, elders and youths of the community said it was within their rights to decide who should rule them and not within the powers of Bayelsa State Government to impose dethroned highness, Ojukonsin Obiriki on them, adding that the Deputy governor, His Excellency senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo
and Hon. Fred Agbedi should tread with caution.

The protesters were armed with placards with the inscriptions: A looter can’t be our highness, We will resist attempt to impose dethroned highness Ojukonsin with our last blood, Afro Biukeme is our highness, Bayelsa Govt can’t impose dethroned highness Ojukonsin on us, Fred Agbedi should be held responsible for crisis in Aghoro ll Community and others.

Addressing the press Chief Pidiki Osuwa, the Amakosuwei (eldest man) in the community who is about 112years old, also affirmed HRH Afro Biukeme as the Amananaowei of Aghoro ll Community.

The Amakosuwei, asserted that the tradition of the community was that the installation of the new highness was being done by the eldest man in the community.

He said he personally crowned HRH Afro, according to the tradition and custom of the community.

Chief Asuwa, reiterated that Chief Ebamughan was dethroned because he stole from the throne.He called on Bayelsa State Government to hasten up and present staff of office to HRH Afro without further delay.

The leader of Ekeremor legislative 6th assembly, Chief RT. Hon. Zide Sunday who expressed dissatisfaction on the issue, added that the Amananaowei (Highness) stool is not a political stool, stressing that it was the custom of the people to decide and choose monarch for themselves.

He further reiterated that the former highness was dethroned because he stole money from the throne, noting that about 15years when the ousted highness has not visited the community where he claimed to be the traditional ruler.

“He is not concern about communal issues in the community. Even if you invite him he will not come. We have invited him severally to come and explain about the stolen money ,he refused to come and the community has decided to dethrone him and install Afro as a replacement.

“As a leader of ward 11, in Ekeremor, I advise the Bayelsa Government to follow the community decision for the purpose of peace. Within the 14days ultimatum the Government should do the needful, reason being that the community has been patience enough. Afro never install himself but the rituals were done by the community according to tradition. To avoid bloodshed, the process of staff presentation should be facilitated with some level of haste”, he appealed.

A prominent Community Chief (Dr) Bosine said: “He stole over 90 million which belonged to the community without an appeal. “We are giving Government 14 days to decide the case. It is our warning that whatever may happen with regard to the delay after the 14days, the Community should not be held accountable.

“However, Dr. Bosine affirmed that Afro is their new highness, and there was no going back on the community’s collective decision.

A furious Community Chief, Emele, expressed disappointment on the actions of Hon. Fred Agbedi, member federal house of representatives.

However, Emele, urged the federal Government to prevail on Bayelsa State Government to do the needful.”We voted him to power but now he is turning his back on us, we are disappointed

“.The angry Chief, accused Hon. Fred of supporting the dethroned highness to be fighting the community.

“It is our position that if this issue is not addressed inline with the decision of the community, we will banish his family and Ojukonsin family from Aghoro ll Community.

“We will not vote and support him in any future election again because he has insulted us. Bayelsa Government should confirm HRH Afro Biukeme within the two weeks ultimatum to avoid break down of law and order.”

Speaking during the protest, Mr Ekoboyi Sunday, added that Hon. Fred Agbedi member House of representatives, representing Ekeremor/Sagbama Local Government Areas has disappointed the community.

According to him: “We have been seeing him going to places to solve problem, but since this kingship crisis, he refused to visit the community but rather joining force with a dethroned prodigal son to be fighting the community.

“Not only that he brought soldiers and police to brutalize and arrest innocent citizens of the community, we are expecting him to come if he loves his Community and not to stay away to fight the community.”

An angry youth, Andrew Obinna, Community financial secretary reiterated: “The community has decided and the Bayelsa State Government should work inline with this decision. We expect staff of office to be presented to our new highness, Afro Biukeme and nothing more.

“We are advising Agbedi to remove himself from this Kingship matter, but if he refuses, we will ban him from coming to Aghoro Community.

“We will not support him and vote him in any further elections. If Bayelsa Government wants, let it come with more soldiers. If they like, let them come and kill everybody in the community. What happened in Bilabiri will be a child’s play. It is our warning, after the two weeks, the Bayelsa Government should not blame the community for any break down of law and order.

“Also addressing the press, Chief Piowei Goude, the third Amakosuwei ( 3rd eldest man) in the community maintained: “We are not happy about the delay of Bayelsa State Government in presenting staff of office to our new highness, Afro Biukeme.

“This has been the custom of our community. When we find that you have stolen from the treasury and no longer has genuine intention for the community, we drop you and install new highness.
It is our demand that within the 14days, let the staff of office be presented to Afro Biukeme to avoid further conflicts.”

An angry aged woman, Mrs Godday Oyakemeagbegha explained: “The community only exercised its customary rights by crowning HRH Afro Biukeme as new highness in Aghoro ll Community.

“It is the rights of the community to dethrone its monarch and install, so there is no big thing about it. We sack Ebamughan because he has stolen and we have lost confidence in him. Why the Bayelsa State Government wants to impose him on us?

“It is Afro that is our new highness and we expect the Government to accept this decision of Aghoro ll Community for the interest of peace, law and order.

“We drop one Joseph as highness to install Ebamughan because we lost confidence in him. He didn’t die before Ebamughan took over from him. He was happy then, because he was favoured by the community decision. He should know that we sack him because he looted the community money. There is nothing he will do for us to accept him back. All he is doing is in vain.

“However, we are telling Bayelsa Government that we are tired of travelling to Bayelsa over this matter. We suspect that this is a plan of Ebamughan to kill our sons and leaders. But they will not succeed. They should note that we don’t install highness in Bayelsa Government house.
Equally, We didn’t install Ebamughan in Bayelsa Government house. The custom and the tradition of the community must be followed.

“So the Bayelsa Government should stop playing politics with this kingship matter. We urged Bayelsa Government to present staff of office to HRH Afro Biukeme within the 14days ultimatum. Let Ebamughan and Government should know that we have not forgotten how they use military to invade our peaceful Community to burn down our palace, arrested and beaten up innocent Community youths” she queried.

Another angry community leader, Mr Agamu Olokpa narrated: “Ebamughan is not our first highness, there was one Joseph who was overthrown to install Ebamughan.

“The dethroned highness, Ebamughan Obiriki, for the past 15years refused to visit his Community and don’t attend to communal issues but only good at embezzling Community money.

“These were part of the reasons we dethroned him to crown Afro Biukeme. Afro was installed by the entire Community and the coronation took place at the community town hall.”

Speaking in the same vein, Chief Felix Tare said: ” Ebamughan should know that he overthrew a living human being to become the community’s highness. Our stool is not a live time stool. Ebamughan stole from the community treasury, and we have decided to replace him with Afro Biukeme and that shouldn’t be an issue of conflicts.

“We expect Bayelsa Government to stand for the truth. The Government is expected to support the community to condemn the action of the ousted highness and not to provide a cover for him. It is our appeal that staff of office should be given to Afro to avoid bloodshed”.

A community opinion leader, Mr Egete Emmanuel explained: “There is no much to talk, all we have to say is for the Bayelsa State Government to present staff of office to our highness within 14days.“Bayelsa Government should do the needful. We don’t need crisis in the community. But if the Government fails, we are not expected to be peaceful in the face of such lawlessness. The process of enquiry has been completed, so there is no need for the delay for the presentation of staff of office to HRH Afro Biukeme.“Let me make it very clear, it is within the rights of the community to enthrone and dethrone. It is not within the powers of Bayelsa State Government to determine king for communities or kingdoms.“We are perceiving some fowl play. The Bayelsa Government should not play politics in our community monarch stool. We are beginning to lose confidence in the Bayelsa State government. We are seeing manipulation by Bayelsa Government to impose the dethroned highness, Ojukonsin on the community. A man who has stolen over 90million from the community and refused to visit the community for over 15years can’t be a leader in the community”, Egete reinvigorated.Engr Hensaw Gbalebi, who also spoke on the development said: ” It is my appeal to Government to allow justice prevail. HRH Afro is our mandate. Ebamughan has been dethroned and no longer highness in Aghoro ll Community. So, let Bayelsa Government not impose him on us to avoid bloodshed,” he averred.